“It may seem a paradox, but these very [new technological] tools are undermining our ability to get work done. “

March 18th, 2012

They are causing us to become paralyzed by the dizzying number of options that they spawn.

Is there a way out of this quandary? Yes, but it’s not going to come from the usual quarters. To be successful in the new world of work, we need to create a structure for capturing, clarifying and organizing all the forces that assail us; and to ensure time and space for thinking, reflecting and decision making.

Most professionals are still using their subjective, internal mental worlds to try to keep it all together, but that’s a poor way to navigate the new work environment. It results in unclear, distracted and disorganized thinking, and leaves frustration, stress and undermined self-confidence in its wake.

Workers need a set of best practices that is sorely lacking in the professional world. Without it, we are seeing a growing angst — even a sense of desperation — in the workplace, as more employees feel that there is no rest and no way out.

The Times opines on the difficulty of dealing with the dizzying distractions of tech.

Even though we are much more productive on the aggregate, and can accomplish tasks in less time that were unimaginable decades ago, individual productive may seem to suffer:

The problem is that better overall productivity in an organization may not translate into increased productivity for an individual worker.

Though one person may now be producing the previous results of three, she’s not being paid three times as much. That’s the whole point of companies using technology and other improvements: fewer people are now needed for the same results.

But the workers who remain also tend to have much more responsibility. And they can’t just comfort themselves with the notion that their companies are more efficient than they used to be, because all of their competitors have the same new tools, and are using them to gain any advantage they can.

Cranking out widgets is one thing; deciding which widgets need cranking first, and in what quantity, is quite another — especially if you are now charged with continually improving the system, or determining whether you should even be cranking out those widgets at all.

It can be a recipe for frustration, as employees feel overwhelmed by their companies’ very progress. And the problems and logistics of workers’ personal lives add yet another layer of complexity.

This argument seems right out of Marx.

Eh, this article is a let-down. Not what I thought it was going to be.